We all make mistakes, but LTO media should not have errors

We all make mistakes, but LTO media should not have errors

How many of you have made the mistake of not backing up your home PC, only to have a disk failure cause you to lose 3 months of work? Or have lost your phone, and with it, 6 months of photos? I, for one, am guilty!

It’s a good thing, then, that in business environments we have systems and processes in place to protect against data loss. Today’s storage administrators have a panoply of tools to store and protect their data, from synchronous replication on flash arrays to tape-based archives. 

Seriously? Tape? I hear you ask. Yes, despite frequent unfounded predictions of its death, tape is very much alive and well. Modern tape technology is ideally suited to be the storage medium of choice for the 60-80% of all data that is infrequently accessed and can be classified as archival or cold data. Simply put, tape is the most cost effective, reliable, and energy efficient medium for long-term storage. 

In fact, tape is arguably doing a better job of keeping up with today’s explosive storage requirements than hard disk drives. Consider LTO: since its launch over 20 years ago LTO technology has advanced enormously. The 18TB native capacity of a single LTO-9 cartridge is 180 times the original capacity of LTO-1. Over the same time period native performance has increased by 20X to 400 MB/second. 

Usage of tape has evolved too, from being primarily a backup medium, to an archiving medium for long-term retention. This evolution has changed how tape drives and media are used. In the traditional backup model tapes were reused and written to multiple times. With an archive usage model, data is typically written to new media, and then stored for later access as well as long-term preservation.  

This in turn has implications for tape drive and media reliability and performance. As seasoned users of tape know, one of the peculiarities of new (or “green”) media is that it is more abrasive than media that has already been used several times: microscopic debris left from even the most careful manufacturing process causes wear to tape drive heads and can adversely affect their longevity. Similarly, debris on new media causes higher error rates, increased error correction activity, and as a result slower system performance.

Further, as new generations of LTO tape reach ever-greater bit densities, the distance shrinks between tracks on the tape, and between the drive head and physical media. Tape drive sensitivity to debris and contaminants increases accordingly. This means that debris too small to create problems in earlier generations of LTO may now pose a threat.

MagStor, as an LTO Technology Participant company, and as a leading service and repair specialist for LTO tape systems, has been in a privileged position to observe these changes. Now, to address these challenges, we have developed NanoPure Certified Media.

NanoPure Certified Media is premium LTO media certified via our patent-pending process that extends LTO drive and media life, while improving reliability and operational efficiency. Every new NanoPure certified cartridge is cleaned, tested, and calibrated before first use, giving users of any tape hardware brand the peace of mind that they are using the highest quality, most trouble-free media available. By removing harmful debris, NanoPure reduces the impact new media has on the health of tape hardware systems. Additionally, NanoPure Media is tested to have 10-15% lower error rates than standard new media, leading to reduced error correction activity and improved performance during first use. 

Each NanoPure cartridge is also part of the NanoPure Media Lifecycle Management (NMLM) solution.* NMLM enables the administrator to be proactively alerted to any changes in the health of the tape cartridge after each use. If cartridge performance falls below acceptable limits, the user will be prompted to run our NanoPure Intelligent Diagnostic Cartridge to further assess the health of the cartridge along with the health of the tape drive itself. Our process helps the end user conclusively identify if faulty media or faulty tape hardware is causing excessive errors in the archival process, saving valuable time otherwise spent troubleshooting.

NanoPure Media will be launching in early October.. Sign up now to receive more information, as well as to be the first to hear about general availability.

Email us to recieve more information or to place an order: nanopure@magstor.com

Visit our NanoPure Media page here

*NMLM is only available for use within supported backup software and hardware and requires the use of the Intelligent Diagnostic Cartridge at an additional cost. Available Q1 2023.